towns town Columbia • Marietta • Wrightsville
the amazing sights, great food, friendly folks, and entertainment that overﬂow the banks of these three Susquehanna River towns
WELCOME table of contents
Legends & Lore
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Discover the Unique River Towns of Columbia, Marietta, and Wrightsville!
Situated along the banks of the Susquehanna River in Lancaster and York Counties, Columbia, Marietta, and Wrightsville offer visitors a variety of interesting and fun things to do. Each of the three river towns celebrates its storied past at historical sites and events, like the Pig Iron Fest. An eclectic array of shopping and dining opportunities attract guests to these quaint downtowns. Perhaps the biggest draw to these towns is the river itself and the outdoor recreation experiences that await on the water and on the trails. Whether you visit for the history, shopping, or the outdoors, the friendly residents and merchants welcome you to the Susquehanna Rivertowns. Wendy Royal, editor Engle Printing & Publishing Co., Inc. 5
A vibrant lifestyle today. Peace of mind for tomorrow. St. John’s Herr Estate offers a wealth of activity and opportunity in retirement living, along with a variety of services, amenities, and conveniences. Our community is located in historic Columbia, PA, where you can wind your way along the Susquehanna River and enjoy scenic views, biking and hiking trails, antiques shops, and more. Our maintenance-free lifestyle lets you enjoy doing all the things you love! Offering Cottages, 1- & 2-Bedroom Apartments, and On-site Personal Care Suites!
Luthercare complies with applicable Federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex.
www.Luthercare.org • 717.449.5988 Independent Living • Personal Care
In addition to our beers, all locations serve PA wines, liquors and cocktails IronSpire Taproom is only open on Sundays. Visit our website for expanded hours, taplists and food for all locations.
CKW BREWPUB 40 N 3rd Street Columbia, PA 17512 • Full-service kitchen with diverse food menu including salads, paninis, pizza & more • 12 of our beers on tap • Sidewalk seating in warmer months
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Of The Susquehanna R BY KRISTA HURLEY
he Susquehanna River winds nearly 450 miles from central New York state to Maryland, carrying with it the secrets of centuries past. While we will never know how many of these tales have been lost to time, there are some that remain, resurrecting scenes of the past that would otherwise be forgotten. Overlooking the river from the hills of the
Wrightsville area, one may wonder: Did residents stand at this very spot watching the bridge burn in 1863? Walking the streets of Columbia, one may ponder: How did the townspeople react when they learned that the 1790 bid for Columbia to become the nation’s capital had fallen short? Strolling along Front Street in Marietta, one may picture the efforts of residents centuries ago to preserve their property as the raging Susquehanna River spilled relentlessly over its banks.
History comes alive. “History comes to life every day in these historic rivertowns,” echoed Megan Salvatore, visitor services representative with Susquehanna National Heritage Area (SNHA). “The history of the towns is actually the heritage of its people, and the culture is living history.” SNHA received its designation as the nation’s 55th National Heritage Area following an arduous process. “National Heritage Areas are places where historical,
cultural, and natural resources combine to form a cohesive, nationally important landscape. You must prove a location, based on its value and significance in crafting national traditions, is special enough to be coveted and protected,” Salvatore explained. “Susquehanna NHA would not exist without the rich history found in each of its rivertowns.” “What draws me to the rivertown history is how collective it is and how diverse it is,” said Sara Mimnall, who established Rivertown Theatre Productions with Rebecca Wright. Mimnall and Wright channel their love of local history into original productions, including Columbia’s Haunted Lantern Tour. “Sara and I actually acted on the Lantern Tour,” Wright shared, noting that the pair began heading up the tour in 2017 before forming Rivertown Theatre Productions as the umbrella organization in 2019. In preparation for each year’s tour, Mimnall and Wright discuss themes and stories. Their research extends from old newspaper articles and resources from LancasterHistory to chats with older residents from the area. “We pull resources from everywhere,” Wright said. One of Wright’s favorite legends dates to the late 1800s, when three unmarried sisters are said to have lived atop Chickies Rock, situated between Columbia and Marietta. “The rumor at the time was that these sisters were witches,” Wright noted. When the Columbia and Donegal Electric Railway wanted to build an amusement park on the west end of the ridge, the sisters refused to sell their part of the land. As the story goes, the railway then took the property via eminent domain. “Basically, ‘we need the land more than you do,’” Wright explained. “To get back at (the railway) for taking their land, the sisters made (and completed) a suicide pact.” She added that in the ensuing years, several disasters and hardships plagued the land as the railway attempted to build the amusement park. One such disaster was the infamous trolley crash of 1896, which killed six people. The park, which was intended to be completed by 1893, never came to fruition due to these disasters. “The project was actually abandoned,” Wright reported. “People have talked about seeing three figures atop Chickies Rock.”
continued on page 26 9
digs in Columbia have By 1730, the area was renamed Archaeological unearthed Native American artifacts Wright’s Ferry after John Wright’s that date back thousands of years. Tribes such as the Shawanese and the Susquehannocks inhabited the area. Numerous locations, including the Susquehanna River, still bear their tribal names. European influence arrived in the area in the 1720s when Robert Barber, John Wright, and Samuel Blunston settled in Shawannah, a Native American town. Founding families had close ties to William Penn and Benjamin Franklin.
lucrative ferrying business. Columbia became known as the Gateway to the West due to this access to the western banks of the Susquehanna. A land lottery was set up in 1788 to establish the town of Columbia, which was named in honor of Christopher Columbus. The town came only a few votes short of being named the capital for the new nation of the United States of America.
Outdoor Recreation Columbia Crossing River Trails Center
41 Walnut Street, Columbia, PA 17512 717-449-5607 www.susquehannaheritage.org The trailhead building for the Northwest Lancaster County River Trail, Columbia Crossing boasts a spectacular view and an abundance of programs for people of all ages. The center serves as the home of Susquehanna National Heritage Area’s Underground Railroad lecture series and is a hub for guided bicycle and paddling tours and geology trail rides. The venue also hosts live music and other activities throughout the year. Boat access for canoeing, kayaking, boating, and fishing.
Northwest Lancaster County River Trail
helped the area prosper as a trade Canals center. Railroads provided transportation for goods purchased in Columbia’s tanneries, foundries, and numerous mills. Columbia became a key stop on the Underground Railroad, with free African Americans working alongside white abolitionists. Historians have found evidence that Columbia was the birthplace of the term “Underground Railroad.” Stephen Smith, a free black man who operated a successful lumber yard by the railroad tracks, was an outspoken opponent of slavery and helped individuals escaping to freedom on the Underground Railroad.
Length: 14.1 miles Trail end points: Columbia Crossing River Trails Center at North Front Street and Walnut Street (Columbia) and Falmouth Boat Launch on Collins Road and SR 441/ River Road (Bainbridge) Surface: paved, gravel, dirt Category: rail-trail
Chickies Rock County Park
PA Route 441, Columbia, PA 17512 717-299-8215 The park’s name is derived from the American Indian word “chiquesalunga,” meaning “place of the crayfish.” The most notable feature of the park is Chickies Rock Overlook, a massive outcropping of quartzite rock towering 100 feet above the river. The vista offers impressive views of York County, the borough of Marietta, and the farmlands of northwestern Lancaster County.
Museums & Historical Sites National Watch & Clock Museum
514 Poplar Street, Columbia, PA 17512 717-684-8261 www.nawcc.org The National Watch & Clock Museum is recognized as the largest and most comprehensive horological collection in North America. The museum houses timepieces and ephemera from around the world, including an atomic clock that will be accurate to within a second for at least a thousand years!
Wright's Ferry Mansion
38 South Second Street Columbia, PA 17512 717-684-4325 www.lancastercountymuseums.org/ wrights-ferry-mansion Built in 1738, Wright’s Ferry Mansion was the home of Susanna Wright, daughter of John Wright, founder of Columbia. The museum has been restored to reflect her tastes and interests with items made before 1750.
First National Bank Museum
170 Locust Street, Columbia, PA 17512 717-684-8864 www.bankmuseum.org Chartered in 1864, the First National Bank played a vital role in the development of Columbia. Original furnishings like the walnut teller cages, the bank president’s office, and the massive walk-in vault will transport visitors back in time.
Mount Bethel Cemetery
700 Locust Street, Columbia, PA 17512 717-684-7265 www.mtbethelcemetery.com Mount Bethel Cemetery is the final resting place of many persons who played key roles in Columbia’s history. The cemetery dates back to 1730, and more than 10,000 individuals have been laid to rest in the 10-acre property. Names of Columbia’s founding families, such as the Wrights, Blunstons, Houstons, and Barbers, occupy the memorials in the brick burial yard, which is in the oldest section of the cemetery.
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Attractions & Shopping Turkey Hill Experience
301 Linden Street, Columbia, PA 17512 717-684-0134 www.turkeyhillexperience.com Learn about how our favorite treat is made. Ice cream lovers have the opportunity to create their own flavor and take a pint home.
Columbia Market House
15 South Third Street, Columbia, PA 17512 www.columbiamarkethouse.org Wednesdays and Saturdays The newly revitalized historic 1869 market house features locally sourced fresh food vendors, handmade goods, a full-size restaurant, and an event space.
The Mayfly Boutique
8 South Third Street Columbia, PA 17512 717-342-2164 www.themayflyboutique.com The Mayfly is a gift shop featuring Susquehanna Glass, unique jewelry, stationery, textiles, home décor, hostess gifts, and more.
Olde Timber Works
27 North 11th Street, Columbia, PA 17512 717-201-3900 www.facebook.com/oldetimberworks Olde Timber Works specializes in reclaimed rustic furnishings, antiques, and unique items for your home. Open Saturdays and Sundays.
22 South Second Street Columbia, PA 17512 717-847-1718 www.garthart.co Housed in a mid-19th-century storefront and carriage house, Garth Gallery showcases local and nationally recognized artwork. In addition to the gallery, you’ll find a custom framing studio, a café, and an event venue.
Burning Bridge Antique Market
304 Walnut Street, Columbia, PA 17512 717-684-7900 www.burningbridgeantiques.com
Rivertowne Antique Center
125 Bank Avenue, Columbia, PA 17512 717-684-8514 www.facebook.com/RivertowneAntiques
215 Chestnut Street, Columbia, PA 17512 717-684-5555 www.tollboothmarket.com
Partners & Friends Antique Center
403 North 3rd Street, Columbia, PA 17512 717-449-5995 www.partnersandfriendsantiques.com
Discover the origins of the
underground railroad in Lancaster County
Learn about the history of the Underground Railroad in Lancaster County, and schedule your tour today at lancasterhistory.org/ugrr. R076484
135 Bridge Street, Columbia, PA 17512 717-684-0009 www.bootlegantiques.net
230 N. PRESIDENT AVE., LANCASTER, PA • 717.392.4633
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The revitalized experience reawakens the small town market house tradition. Enjoy the fully renovated, air conditioned building where there is plenty of space for new memories to grow.
Gypsy Kitchen operates a full service restaurant inside the market! Featuring colorful, local and delicious dishes. Gypsy Kitchen is available for private parties as well as catered events at the Market House.
@COLUMBIAPAMARKETHOUSE | columbiapamarkethouse.org 15 S. 3rd St. Columbia, PA 17512
HISTORY Highlights town began as an American In the early days, Marietta served as The the processing center of raw timber Indian trade outpost in the early 1700s. By 1736, it was known as Anderson’s Ferry, named after James Anderson, the operator of a river-crossing site. The town was a hub for commerce and industry during its history.
smaller settlements developed After around Anderson’s Ferry, the
communities were consolidated with some outlying farmland as the Borough of Marietta, named for several women named Mary and at least one Henrietta who were among the founding families.
that was floated down the river every spring from forests in the central part of the state.
construction of the Pennsylvania The Canal between 1825 and 1830
attracted more workers and entrepreneurs. Many of the grand homes built by the successful entrepreneurs still stand in Marietta today.
iron-smelting industry carried The the town’s economy from the late 19th century into the early 20th century. At one time, as many as eight iron furnaces operated just east of the borough.
Attractions & Shopping Susquehanna Stage Company at the Marietta Center for the Arts
133 West Market Street, Marietta, PA 17547 717-426-1277 http://susquehannastageco.com Susquehanna Stage Company (SSC) is a nonprofit theater providing Broadway-quality stage productions in the Eater Theater (named after a generous donor, Eater Family Foundation). Susquehanna Stage continues to create a unique theater experience. The theater is located in a beautiful 1808 stone church, where SSC also offers full educational programs for children, teens, and adults, providing dance, music, cooking, and art classes.
First National Bank Escape Room
100 West Market Street, Marietta, PA 717-384-5625 https://firstnationalescape.com *Temporarily closed due to COVID-19 at the time of printing. Check the website for reopening. The Vault: Break In, Cash Out. It’s a 1940s bank job! The 1940s vault has been completely refinished and ready for the game to begin. But to see inside, you’ll need to rummage through the desks and filing cabinets to unlock clues. The escape room appeals to treasure hunters and sleuths alike. And since this is a real bank vault, you will handle authentic vintage bank safe deposit boxes from 1917 and artifacts dating from the 1940s through the 1970s. Collect as much cash and gold as possible to increase your score.
Marietta’s Front Street time the iron industry Over had trouble competing
with emerging industries. This economic downturn resulted in homes being largely unchanged during that time period, leaving their historic character intact. More than half of Marietta is now on the National Register of Historic Places.
Front Street is home to a number of historic pubs and restaurants, which serve up food and beverages with a side of local history. The establishments are conveniently located near the Northwest Lancaster County River Trail, which is a boon for hungry or thirsty hikers and bicyclists.
9 Reichs Church Road, Marietta, PA 17547 800-799-1685 https://georgesfurniturepa.com George’s Furniture is a second-generation family-owned business. Each piece of furniture is handcrafted right in the workshop, then signed by its maker. There is no factory assembly line – just skilled craftsmen who lovingly follow each piece from selecting the lumber to the final detail. Guided tours of the woodshop and showroom are available Mondays through Fridays, or you can schedule a Zoom meeting to take a virtual tour where you’ll chat with George’s talented craftsmen. Virtual meetings are available Mondays through Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Museums & Historical Sites Musselman/ Vesta Iron Furnace Center
26 Furnace Road, Marietta, PA 17547 717-314-4060 www.rivertownes.org/ musselman-vesta Open April through October on Sundays 1 to 3 p.m. Located along the Northwest Lancaster County River Trail, Musselman/ Vesta Iron Furnace Center provides visitors with a glimpse into the local iron furnace industry through an interactive HO-scale diorama that depicts the Vesta Furnace during the 1920s. You can tour the industrial ruins that made Lancaster County push the United States forward in the Industrial Revolution. In-depth iron furnace history walking tours of the property are available in spring and fall. These tours last about two hours and showcase the area known as the Pittsburgh of the East.
Marietta Restoration Associates Old Town Hall
3 West Walnut Street, Marietta, PA 17547 717-426-2117 www.mariettarestoration.org Marietta Restoration Associates (MRA) has been working to preserve Marietta's cultural and architectural heritage since 1965. The Marietta Museum is located inside the Old Town Hall, which was built in 1847. On display are artifacts and memorabilia from early Marietta, such as the first Marietta fire engine from 1840, examples of furniture made here, and early photographs and records from the Marietta area. The Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) Post 226 was headquartered there, and many Civil War memorabilia and records are among the archives. To schedule a museum tour or a presentation of Marietta's history, call 717-426-4736. MRA organizes the popular Candlelight Tour of Homes at Christmastime. The event is one of the oldest continuous holiday tours in Pennsylvania.
Marietta Community House
264 West Market Street, Marietta, PA 17547 717-426-4317 https://mariettacommunityhouse.org The Colonial Revival-style house was built in 1871 by Dr. John Huston. Today the MCH hosts free Town Talks on select Sundays throughout the year. Topics such as upcoming town events and Marietta history are covered.
Union Meeting House
82 North Waterford Avenue, Marietta, PA 717-426-4089 www.mariettarestoration.org/union-meeting-house Built in 1818 on land donated by David Cook, the building constructed with donations from the public; one-yet-to-be-famous donor was James Buchanan, future president of the United States. The Union Meeting House was a house of worship and remained so until the last service in 1976. Thanks to the Marietta Restoration Associates' efforts, the building has been restored and is now available to rent for various events and gatherings.
Outdoor Recreation Northwest Lancaster County River Trail Trailhead, Decatur Street, Marietta http://nwrt.info See Columbia section for more information
103 West Market Street, Marietta, PA 17547 717-553-5834 https://lancasterrecumbent.com Recumbent cycles for sale or rent. Visit the shop, take a test ride, and experience cycling like never before.
Susquehanna River – Marietta river access and boat launch 1 Robert K. Mowrer Drive, Marietta, PA 17547 717-299-8220 http://susquehannariverlands.com
REAL ESTATE Serving Northwest Lancaster County
Specializing in Historic Marietta
Historic Wrightsville Incorporated Museum: 309 Locust St., Wrightsville Diorama: 124 Hellam St., Wrightsville Open Sundays 1-4 or by special arrangements 717-252-1169
47th Heritage Day TBD Stories by Lantern Light Tours October 14th-15th
27 WEST MARKET ST. MARIETTA, PA 17547 R075870
www.historicwrightsvillepa.org Historic Wrightsville Incorporated
PLEASE CALL 717-426-4350
Holiday Tea Events July 23rd & Dec. 10th
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Hours: Mon., Tues., Fri. 8-6, Wed. & Sat. 7-2, Thurs. 8-7
820 Ivy Drive, Lancaster, PA
Nearby West Hempfield Fire & Police Station
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514 Poplar St., Columbia, PA • 717-684-8261 For hours, visit www.museumoftime.org
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HISTORY Highlights settlers in America crossed the The Susquehanna and Tidewater Early Canal opened in 1840 and ran Susquehanna River at Wright’s Ferry (now Columbia). John Wright operated the east shore of the ferry, while John Wright Jr. directed the west shore operation for his father at what is now the foot of Hellam Street in Wrightsville. Settlements sprang up in areas both north and south of that operation. William Wright laid out the 101-lot town of Wrightsville to the north of present-day Hellam Street, while Susanna Houston laid out the 273 lots that became known as Westphalia and Wrightsville Extended to the south. All were incorporated into Wrightsville Borough in 1834.
45 miles downstream to the Chesapeake Bay. Canal boats, pulled by mules on a special double-deck towpath section of the wooden covered bridge that spanned the Susquehanna River, crossed over the river from the Pennsylvania Canal at Columbia to the Susquehanna and Tidewater Canal’s start at Wrightsville. Traffic consisting of grain, iron, lumber, and coal barges peaked in 1870.
Attractions & Shopping Burning of the Bridge Diorama
124 Hellam Street Wrightsville, PA 17368 717-252-1169 www.historicwrightsvillepa.org For an in-depth look at Wrightsville’s storied role in the Civil War, visit the Burning of the Bridge Diorama. The exhibit tells the story of the pivotal part that Wrightsville and the burning of the bridge across the Susquehanna played in the Civil War in late June 1863.
Moon Dancer Winery, Cider House & Taproom
the Civil War, invading Confederate During troops approached Wrightsville on Sunday,
June 28, 1863. After a brief encounter, the hastily assembled defending Union forces retreated across the bridge to Columbia. The defenders attempted to destroy the bridge’s center section to prevent the Confederates from advancing toward Harrisburg or Philadelphia. Instead, fire destroyed the whole bridge, while the Confederates helped to quell the flames and protect Wrightsville from the blaze. The troops then turned back, only to fight the Union Army again a few days later at Gettysburg. Over the years, Wrightsville has been home to such diverse businesses as cigar manufacturing, quarries, limekilns, lumber mills, a silk mill, a flour and feed mill, hardware manufacturing, and innkeeping.
1330 Klines Run Road Wrightsville, PA 17368 717-252-9463 www.moondancerwinery.com Housed in a French Country chateau-inspired building that overlooks the Susquehanna River, Moon Dancer Winery crafts premium European-style dry wine, as well as Pennsylvania sweet wines. Wine tastings and tours of the cellars are available year-round, as is live music on weekends.
The Cycle Works & Coffee House 207 Hellam Street (Rt. 462) Wrightsville, PA 17368 717-252-1509 www.thecycleworks.net With a team of experts and cycling enthusiasts, The Cycle Works can satisfy all your cycling needs. From sales to service, their dedication to cycling is evident in all they do.
Outdoor Recreation Shank’s Mare Outfitters
20925 Long Level Road, Wrightsville, PA 17368 717-252-1616 www.shanksmare.com Located in an 1880s-era general store building on the shores of the Susquehanna River, Shank’s Mare Outfitters specializes in sales, rental, guiding, and instruction of recreational, touring, fishing kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, hiking, and cross-country skiing.
River Discovery Boat Tours
Zimmerman Center for Heritage 1706 Long Level Road, Wrightsville, PA 17368 www.susquehannaheritage.org/programs/ boat-tours/ The tours begin and end at the dock across the street from the Zimmerman Center. Each tour lasts approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes, as participants aboard the 10-passenger pontoon boat ride south on the Lake Clarke portion of the river to the Safe Harbor Dam before circling up to Columbia and continuing back to Wrightsville. Southern portions of the approximately 17-mile tour give participants a glimpse of sections of the river that cannot be seen from the roadways. Tourgoers will see wildlife on the summer tours, including the possible sighting of the often-elusive bald eagles. Visitors will get a glimpse of life along the Susquehanna River as it is today and hear about what it was like many years ago. Stories about the rich history of the Lake Clarke portion of the river date back to when the area was the heartland of the Native American Susquehannock people. More recent history includes the construction of the railways along the river, thriving shad fisheries, and communities that grew as the Holtwood and Safe Harbor dams were built.
Highpoint Scenic Vista & Recreation Area
1199 Hilts Road, Wrightsville, PA 17368 https://yorkcountypa.gov/parks-recreation Highpoint Scenic Vista encompasses acres of scenic meadowlands located on top of a hill overlooking the Susquehanna River. This park provides spectacular views of the Susquehanna River. The 193-mile Mason-Dixon Trail runs through the park, which has a picnic area and restrooms.
The Mason-Dixon Trail connects the Appalachian Trail with the Brandywine Trail. This 193-mile trail starts at Whiskey Springs, on the Appalachian Trail, in Cumberland County, and heads east toward the Susquehanna River, passing through Pinchot State Park. The trail then follows the west bank of the Susquehanna south to Havre de Grace in Maryland. Access to the trail can be attained from the Highpoint Scenic Vista or at Zimmerman Center for Heritage.
Museums & Historical Sites Wrightsville Historical Museum
309 Locust Street, Wrightsville, PA 17368 717-252-1169 email@example.com www.historicwrightsvillepa.org Wrightsville Historical Museum is the home of Historic Wrightsville Inc., which strives to preserve the rich heritage of the town. A first-floor museum contains permanent exhibits on the history of the town, as well as special exhibits.
Zimmerman Center for Heritage
1706 Long Level Road, Wrightsville, PA 17368 717-252-0229 www.susquehannaheritage.org The Zimmerman Center for Heritage occupies one of the oldest existing homes in York County. Built around 1750, the stone structure overlooking the Susquehanna River has been known locally as the Dritt Mansion. It has unusually large rooms and high ceilings, an attic with German “Liegender Stuhl” trusses, and a vaulted stone cellar. John and Kathryn Zimmerman restored and renovated the home in the late 1990s and then donated the property to Susquehanna Heritage in 2007, when it was opened to the public and officially dedicated as The John and Kathryn Zimmerman Center for Heritage.
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PA Rt. 462 east of York between Hellam & Wrightsville 5745 Lincoln Highway, York, PA Visit our website or call for up to date hours
717-252-1616 • firstname.lastname@example.org Full Activity Schedule at ShanksMare.com
2092 Long Level Rd., Wrightsville
Legends and Lore
continued from page 9 Mimnall shared one of her favorite bits of folklore, which dates back to the Colonial days and beyond. As they settled in the New World, the Puritans are said to have brought with them the belief in a church grim, a spirit that haunts the grounds of a church or cemetery. “They believed that the first person buried in a cemetery tends to haunt the grounds,” she said, explaining that because families didn’t want to bury a person there first, thereby condemning that person’s spirit to roam the site for eternity, they would bury a dog. “That way the dog was the one who would be doomed there to protect the grounds,” she said, adding that these church grims are often said to appear as black dogs. “I have heard people mention seeing them in local cemeteries,” she noted. But these dog figments aren’t the only non-human creatures said to have been sighted locally. On Valentine’s Day 2002, local resident Rick Fisher was driving up Marietta Avenue at about 6 a.m. when he saw someone about the size of a child walking down the middle of the road. “The hair on my arms stood up when I realized,” he recalled, “that it wasn’t a person.” The hair-covered figure seemed to be unaware of Fisher’s vehicle. Hoping to get a better look, Fisher turned on his high beams; at this, the creature looked back, its yellow eyes fixing on Fisher. “Our eyes met, and it was gone!” he said. He got out of the car but saw no trace of it. “It shook me up,” he recalled, adding that the next few days were spent researching. Fisher told no one of his experience until he met someone named Dwight a few months after his encounter. Without knowing Fisher’s story, Dwight shared with Fisher that he and two friends had seen what they initially thought was a deer on Pinkerton Road “near the golf course.” As they approached, they realized it was not a deer. Instead, it was a creature that Fisher realized matched the description of what he had seen – only Dwight’s encounter had occurred two years before Fisher’s. Armed with a second story, Fisher continued his research and found the legend of the albatwitch – a 4- or 5-foot-tall apelike creature that is sometimes called a “baby
There have been a number of reported sightings of a creature that matches the description of the albatwitch. Rick Fisher invites people to contact him through www.ghostsoftheriver towns.com to share their stories. Artwork by John D. Weaver. Provided by Rick Fisher. Bigfoot.” “I can’t tell you I saw an albatwitch,” Fisher emphasized, “but I did see a small Bigfoot-like creature that fits the description of an albatwitch.” Over the years, a number of people have disclosed their own encounters to Fisher. One lady approached him after he gave a local lecture and said, “Rick, I think I saw one of these.” Her sighting was on Pinkerton Road near the golf course, where Dwight had reported his. At another lecture about the albatwitch, a girl in the audience began to cry. When Fisher apologized for upsetting her with the subject matter, she replied that she was emotional because he was describing a creature she had seen. Her sighting? On Pinkerton Road. Near the golf course. According to Fisher, the first reported sighting of a Bigfoot-like creature in Pennsylvania dates to 1838. The two most
An unnamed Confederate soldier, who washed ashore on the western bank of the Susquehanna River in June 1863, is buried several miles north of Wrightsville.
recent sightings shared with Fisher took place in 2016, on either side of the Norman Wood Bridge. These sightings, along with others that have been reported to Fisher, have been mapped at www.ghostsoftherivertowns.com/ albatwitch. “It’s all wooded area, and it’s all close to the river,” he said of where most of the sightings have taken place. He hopes to further his research up and down the river. The albatwitch’s name, a variant of “apple snitch,” comes from the creature’s love of apples; it has been known to snatch pieces of the fruit from unsuspecting picnickers and, on occasion, throw them back. But, Fisher says, there are no reports of it being aggressive. “They appear to be solitary creatures,” he noted. Chris Vera, president of the Columbia Historic Preservation Society, added, “I just think they elude us. And they’re very nimble.” Together, Fisher and Vera organize the annual Albatwitch Day, held in Columbia each fall to pay homage to the region’s most mysterious inhabitant. One highlight is the trolley tours, including an after-dark option. “(This year) we saw red eyes in the woods (near Zion Hill Cemetery) for the second straight year,” Vera reported. “We don’t know what they are. They’re very eerie. You go back in the woods, and there’s nothing there.” Whether these red eyes are connected in any way to the albatwitch or are something
else entirely, no one can say for sure. But what can be said with absolute certainty is that local legends, folklore, and historical accounts seem never-ending. Numerous properties in the rivertowns have stories to tell. One such property is the Zimmerman Center for Heritage, where SNHA is headquartered. “The Zimmerman Center occupies the 1750 Dritt Mansion, named for its most prominent resident, Gen. Jacob Dritt,” shared Salvatore, adding that Dritt served during the Revolutionary War. The legends surrounding the Dritt Mansion property predate the mansion’s construction by John Meyer. In the 1730s, English settler Thomas Cresap’s role in the border dispute between Maryland and Pennsylvania led to his reputation as a villain – at least, on the east side of the river. He was captured by Pennsylvania authorities in 1735; after being freed several years later, he moved on from the area. “Although in the past people made references to the Dritt Mansion being the foundation of Cresap’s fort, that is not true,” shared Paul Nevin, Zimmerman Center director. “There is nothing remaining from Cresap’s time on the property; we do have a big stone marker, though.” continued on page 28
Legends and Lore
continued from page 27 The disputes in the area were not limited to Cresap’s time. One of the best-known local historical moments occurred on June 28, 1863, when the bridge spanning the Susquehanna River from Columbia to Wrightsville was burned to halt the advance of Confederate troops into Lancaster County on their way to Harrisburg and Philadelphia. While that overall account is well known in this area, countless connected stories breathe life into the humanity of all involved. Fisher tells of a Union soldier from Wrightsville who received a pocket Bible from his parents before he left for the war, his name and address marking the inside. While fighting far from home, the young man was captured in battle and taken to a prison camp, where he died from illness. A Confederate soldier sorting through the belongings of the deceased saw the pocket Bible and decided to keep it. By early summer of 1863, that Confederate soldier’s story had taken him on the road again. “He was part of the (unit) that ended up in Wrightsville,” Fisher shared, noting that this unit’s destination was Philadelphia. Of course, the Confederates were unable to cross the river, instead watching their only hope of advancing be licked into oblivion by scorching flames. The people of Wrightsville, knowing the importance of the act, claimed to have no pails or buckets to douse the burning bridge with the plentiful water from the river just below the blaze. Stuck on the York County side, the Confederates commandeered the homes of Wrightsville’s townspeople. The young soldier from the South who was carrying the Bible of his fallen Union counterpart realized that he happened to be staying in the home of the parents of the deceased soldier – the original owner of the Bible. “He saw that and returned the Bible,” Fisher shared. Another act of humanity was notched in the annals of history several miles north of Wrightsville near the property now known as the Accomac Inn. In late June 1863, around the time of the bridge burning, the body of a Confederate soldier washed up on the western bank of the river. Mystery shrouds this soldier, with speculation that he may have been a spy, or part of a cavalry unit, or in a group searching for another way to cross the river.
While his name has been swallowed by history, his memory lives on in the form of a marker installed at the site of his final resting place, where his body washed ashore. It reads, “C.S.A. Unknown, June 1863.” That the people of the area were able to show such respect to a member of the opposing army, which had just overrun the region, says a lot about the townspeople of 1863, said Hope Byers, director of SNHA’s Columbia Crossing River Trails Center. “They were able to retain their humanity during times of great struggle,” she noted, adding, “It’s a common theme found in the area throughout that era.”
SNHA president Mark Platts posited that the people of the rivertowns “don’t just preserve their history – they live it, breathe it, and welcome it like an old friend.” Indeed, just as history is more than a stagnant entity here, the Susquehanna River is more than just a geographic feature. It is history. It is culture. Its very essence defines these rivertowns, provides them a unique identity. As the river winds its way south, past Marietta, past Wrightsville and Columbia, it carries with it secrets long forgotten, emptying them into the Chesapeake Bay. But it leaves behind on its banks countless legends and tales of lore, some already resurrected and others waiting to live again.
Interested in diving into local history? Hope Byers of Susquehanna National Heritage Area recommends checking out any of the rivertowns’ historic preservation societies as you begin your search. “That’s where you are likely to find the most unique or obscure information, stories, and artifacts in relation to that town’s specific history,” she shared.
Graves of federal soldiers that served in the United States Colored Troops (USCT) buried in Zion Hill Cemetery, Columbia.
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OF COMMUNITY EVENTS
March 18 Old Town Night Historic Wrightsville Inc. www.historicwrightsvillepa.org March 22 – 26 Spring Into the Park Columbia Crossing River Trails Center 41 Walnut Street, Columbia Enjoy spring at Columbia River Park with food trucks every day as well as fun activities. Donations support Susquehanna NHA programs and exhibits at Columbia Crossing. www.Susqnha.org
April 22 & 24 “Through the Lens of John Reitzel" 5 – 8 p.m. on Apr. 22, 2-4 p.m. Apr. 24 Mount Bethel Cemetery, 700 Locust St., Columbia Reitzel is a Columbia native and amateur photographer. Visitors to this exhibit will see his outstanding photography of scenes from around Columbia and along the lower Susquehanna River. FREE
May 7 Columbia Railroad Day Columbia Historic Preservation Society Chris Vera is event coordinator. www.columbiapahistory.com May 14 Crafting for a Cause – Spring Craft Show Columbia Crossing River Trails Center 41 Walnut Street, Columbia Kim Rightnour, Chickies Moose Lodge, is event coordinator. May 28 Mount Bethel Cemetery Memorial 5K 7:30 a.m. 901 Ironville Pike, Columbia This mixed-terrain 5K will be held totally on the grounds of Columbia High School for runners and walkers beginning at 8:30 a.m. Registration and bib pickup on day of the race is $25. Preregistration is $20. www.mtbethelcemetery.org
June 18 9th Annual Thunder on the River Car Show 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Locust Street, Columbia Take a walk down memory lane with vintage cars, great music, good friends, and a variety of food. The event features show awards, with numerous trophies to be awarded, including Best of Show. Oldies music will serve as a backdrop for a fun-filled day. Admission for spectators is free.
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June 18 “Last Ride & Macabre Creations” 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Mount Bethel Cemetery, 700 Locust St., Columbia In conjunction with “Thunder on the River,” a display of professional funereal vehicles, hearses, flower cars, etc. will be located within the cemetery grounds. FREE June 25 Riverfest Columbia and Wrightsville Riverfest is held each year to commemorate the 1863 burning of the covered bridge that spanned the Susquehanna River. Attendees are invited to spend the evening along the banks of the Susquehanna River enjoying food, live music, reenactments, and more. The annual outdoor event takes place on the lawn at John Wright Restaurant www.riverfestpa.com
July July 2 Marietta Fireworks Food trucks, music and games. Fireworks at 9:15 p.m. www.mariettafireworks.org July 23 Garden Tea Reservations required. Historic Wrightsville Inc. www.historicwrightsvillepa.org
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August August 6 Conejohela Flats Duck Decoy Contest Columbia River Park Lancaster Delta Waterfowl – Matt Kneisley is event coordinator.
September September 9 “Fête en Noir” 6 – 9 p.m. Mount Bethel Cemetery, 700 Locust St., Columbia An outdoor picnic held on the grounds of Mount Bethel Cemetery with live music by the Kracker Beez. Bring your own picnic food and beverage; the tables, table coverings, and chairs will be supplied. Reservations made by September 1 $20 and at the gate $25. Limited to 500 paid guests. Dress in black if possible. www.mtbethelcemetery.org
September 25 Pig Iron Fest & Car Show East Donegal Twp. Chickies Creek Day Use Area, Columbia 717-724-0694 The Pig Iron Fest commemorates and celebrates the once thriving anthracite iron industry. Family-oriented events, food, and live music. Food vendors offer a wide variety of food and beverages. Children’s activities such as hayrides, pumpkin painting, games, and crafts in the Kids' Zone. Historical tours of the furnace ruins are offered throughout the day.
October October 1 Crafting for a Cause – Fall Craft Show Columbia Crossing River Trails Center 41 Walnut Street, Columbia Kim Rightnour, Chickies Moose Lodge, is event coordinator.
Offering hand-crafted coffee, delicious breakfast and lunch items, hand-scooped Hershey’s Ice Cream, Achenbach Pastries and other trail-side treats. Across from the Columbia Crossings sing gs River Trail Center
Beautiful View of the Susquehanna River in Historic Columbia, PA 101 N. Front Street • 717-449-5488
Check us out on for up to date hours & specials
Photo credit to Jenna Carroll Photography
continued from page 31 October 8 Albatwitch Day Columbia Historic Preservation Society Columbia River Park, Columbia Artists, authors, family fun, food, music, vendors, and haunted tours. Chris Vera is event coordinator. www.albatwitchday.com October 14-15 Stories by Lantern Light Guided tours through Wrightsville. Reservations required. Historic Wrightsville Inc. 717-252-1169. www.historicwrightsvillepa.org October 15 Pumpkin Painting Party Columbia Crossing River Trails Center 41 Walnut Street, Columbia Susquehanna NHA will supply all the paint, glitter, and supplies to create your pumpkin masterpiece. Donations appreciated. www.susqnha.org October 30 “Dia de Muertos” (Day of the Dead) 3 – 8 p.m. Mount Bethel Cemetery, 700 Locust St., Columbia In conjunction with the Columbia Halloween House Tour, the celebration will feature an ofrenda with luminarias to honor departed loved ones and mini tours of the cemetery. Ticketed event.
December 4 56th Annual Marietta Candlelight Tour of Homes 11 a.m. - 7 p.m. Visit a variety of homes and historic buildings in Marietta to see how they are beautifully adorned for the holidays. Santa and Mrs. Claus will light the tree outside the Old Town Hall in the evening. For more details and ticket information, visit www.mariettarestoration. org.
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December 10 Holiday Tea Reservations required. Historic Wrightsville Inc. www.historicwrightsvillepa.org December 17 “Wreaths Across America” Noon Mount Bethel Cemetery, 700 Locust St., Columbia As part of the National Wreaths Across America project, a ceremony honoring all military veterans will begin at noon and will be followed by placement of wreaths on veterans' graves by community volunteers and wreath sponsors. Support Mt. Bethel by purchasing a wreath. Your wreath can be placed at Mt. Bethel, or you can pick it up and place it at another gravesite. www.mtbethelcemetery.org
135 BRIDGE STREET COLUMBIA, PA
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Throughout the Year January 1 – May 31 Columbia’s Storied Places Exhibit Columbia Crossing River Trails Center 41 Walnut Street, Columbia Explore the Columbia’s “storied places” as they change through time and add your own story. Columbia’s most iconic location is the riverfront, which made the town an industrial transportation powerhouse. The most remembered building, the Opera House, sat the corner of Third & Locust. But the most stories come from the places where our community gathers: our schools and churches. www.susqnha.org January 2 – March 13 Cabin Fever Crafts Columbia Crossing River Trails Center 41 Walnut Street, Columbia Sundays from noon to 4 p.m. Join us every Sunday for casual crafts in the River Trails Center. Free and open to the public. www.susqnha.org/events May 1 - September 30 River Discovery Boat Tours Zimmerman Center for Heritage Join Susquehanna NHA for a narrated, on-water tour of the Lower Susquehanna
River. You will experience the joy of being on the water, hearing stories of the river, and viewing beautiful scenery and wildlife on a historic wooden, electric boat. www.susqnha.org June 1 - July 31 Susquehanna Greenway Photo Contest Exhibit Columbia Crossing River Trails Center 41 Walnut Street, Columbia Visit the Trails Center to enjoy photos from the entire Susquehanna River region. Contest categories included Treasured Landscapes, Treasured River Towns, Susquehanna Adventures, and Wildlife. www.susqnha.org TBD Antique, Art & Craft Show Locust Street Park, Columbia There will be an array of vendors selling amazing crafts, art, antiques, and more. The show will also include demonstrations, food, and more. Free admission. TBD Annual Marietta Beer & Music Festival Pub Crawl TBD Missy Glenn Memorial River Run & 5K TBD Rivertown Hops
th 55 America’s America’s 55th
National Heritage Area National Heritage Area
HHISTORIC ISTORIC 20+ 20+SSITES ITES
OOVVEERR MILES OF
MILES OF 100 RAILS 100TTRAILS CENIC NEW SSCENIC NEW 10 R IVER D ISCOVERY B OAT T OURS RIVER DISCOVERY BOAT TOURS VERLOOKS OOVERLOOKS
START YOUR ADVENTURE AT:
Columbia Crossing River Trails Center 41 Walnut Street, Columbia
Zimmerman Center for Heritage 1706 Long Level Rd, Wrightsville
Boulders Miniature Golf 312 Primrose Lane Mountville, PA 17554 717-285-2055 bouldersminigolf.com Historic Wrightsville Inc. 309 Locust Street Wrightsville, PA 17368 historicwrightsvillepa.org Jim Mack's Ice Cream 5745 Lincoln Highway York, PA 17406 717-252-2013 www.jimmacksicecream.com LancasterHistory 230 North President Avenue Lancaster, PA 17603 717-392-4633 www.lancasterhistory.org National Watch & Clock Museum 514 Poplar Street Columbia, PA 17512 717-684-8261, ext. 234 museumoftime.org Rivertownes PA USA Musselman/Vesta Iron Furnace Center 26 Furnace Road Marietta, PA 17547 717-887-5952 or 717-314-4060 rivertownes.org Shank’s Mare Outfitters 2092 Long Level Road Wrightsville, PA 17368 717-252-1616 shanksmare.com 34
Susquehanna Heritage – Columbia Crossings River Trails Center 41 Walnut Street Columbia, PA 17512 717-449-5607 susquehannaheritage.org Susquehanna Heritage – Zimmerman Center For Heritage 1707 Long Level Road Wrightsville, PA 17368 susquehannaheritage.org Turkey Hill Experience 301 Linden Street Columbia, PA 17512 844-847-4884 www.turkeyhillexperience.com Wright’s Ferry Mansion Second & Cherry Streets Columbia, PA 17512 717-684-4325 York County Trail Towns www.yorkcountytrailtowns.com
Bainbridge American Legion Libhart-Dyer Post 197 213 North Front Street Bainbridge, PA 17502 717-426-1119 The Bainbridge Inn 5 North Front Street Bainbridge, PA 17502 717-604-1062 Coffee & Cream 101 North Front Street Columbia, PA 17512 717-449-5488
GiGi's Ice Cream Bar 2 South Second Street Bainbridge, PA 17502 717-278-8484 Hinkle's Restaurant 261 Locust Street Columbia, PA 17512 717-684-2888 www.hinklesrestaurant.com Jim Mack's Ice Cream 5745 Lincoln Highway York, PA 17406 717-252-2013 www.jimmacksicecream.com Little Italy of Bainbridge 2141 River Road Bainbridge, PA 17502 717-426-1119 continued on page 36
17 East Market St., Marietta, PA
Breakfast and Lunch Served All Day! Check out our website for hours & updates
Columbia Market House 15 South Third Street Columbia, PA 17512 www.columbiapamarkethouse.org Columbia Kettle Works Brewpub 40 North Third Street Columbia, PA 17512 717-342-2375 www.columbiakettleworks.com Columbia Kettle Works Ironspire Taproom 2800 North Reading Road Adamstown, PA 19501 717-553-5091 www.columbiakettleworks.com Columbia Kettle Works 2nd Gear Taproom 112 North Water Street Lancaster, PA 17603 717-553-5091 www.columbiakettleworks.com
Molly's Courtyard Cafe 17 East Market Street Marietta, PA 17401 717-604-1169 www.mollyscourtyardcafe.com McCleary’s Public House 130 West Front Street Marietta, PA 17547 717-426-2225 mcclearyspub.com
Homestead Furnishings & Gifts 161 South River Street Maytown, PA 17550 717-426-1800 www.homesteadfurnishingsandgifts.com
The Railroad House Inn Restaurant & Bar 280 West Front Street Marietta, PA 17547 717-426-4141 railroadhouseinn.com
The Mayfly 8 South Third Street Columbia, PA 17512 717-342-2164
Scoops Ice Cream & Grille 312 Primrose Lane Mountville, PA 17554 717-285-2055 scoopsgrille.com
Lancaster Recumbent 103 West Market Street Marietta, PA 17547 717-553-5834 lancasterrecumbent.com
Shank’s Mare Outfitters 2092 Long Level Road Wrightsville, PA 17368 717-252-1616 shanksmare.com
BF Hiestand House Bed & Breakfast
Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health Urgent Care 2118 Spring Valley Road Lancaster, PA 17601 717-544-0150 lghealthurgentcare.org
722 East Market Street Marietta, PA 17547 717-426-8415 www.bfhiestandhouse.com
SHOPPING Bootleg Antiques & Oddities 135 Bridge Street Columbia, PA 17512 717-684-0009 bootlegantiques.net Columbia Market House 15 South Third Street Columbia, PA 17512 www.columbiapamarkethouse.org Forry’s Country Store 820 Ivy Lane Lancaster, PA 17601 717-285-5050 forryscountrystore.com
REAL ESTATE Donegal Real Estate 27 West Market Street Marietta, PA 17547 717-426-4350
RETIREMENT & NURSING FACILITIES St. John’s Herr Estate – A Luthercare Community 200 Luther Lane Columbia, PA 17512 717-478-7126 luthercare.org
Visit us along the River in Bainbridge
Seasonal • Open Mid-April (Tax Day) to Mid-September everyday 5-9 P.M. Takeout Available
Enjoy the River Views with Good Food & Brews Visit our
Reservations are encouraged during weekends
Visit our page
2 South 2nd Street • Bainbridge
Bainbridge American Legion Libhart-Dyer Post 197 Members & Guests Welcome
717-604-1062 5 North Front St., Bainbridge
Little Italy of bainbridge Full Menu with Daily Specials “Have You Had a Good Piece Lately?”
Visit our page for hours & specials 717-689-5448 213 North Front St., Bainbridge Visit us Little Italy Restaurant
for daily specials, upcoming entertainment, drink specials and maybe a laugh or two!
717-426-1119 2141 River Road Bainbridge
HOURS: Tues.-Sat. 11am-10pm, Sun. 12pm-9pm Closed Mon.
Local Town Delivery
A Shop for all Seasons Located in a restored 1842 tobacco warehouse, Homestead Furnishings & Gifts offers a gathering of primitive home furnishings & seasonal decor. We feature our own line of handcrafted fragrant candles, as well as authentic and reproduction furniture, farm tables, upholstered furniture, antique accents & period lighting. Whether you are on the hunt for a unique piece to complete your room, searching for a gift for someone special, or wanting some room enhancement ideas. Homestead offers plenty of inspiration and opportunities to imagine, create, and decorate! We strive to offer American made items as much as possible and enjoy finding many of these artisans among our Lancaster County neighbors and bordering states. We look forward to your visit. Sincerely,
Jeff & Robin
Monday thru Saturday 10-5 Closed every January
A Lancaster County Destination 161 S. River St., Maytown, PA 17550 717-426-1800 homesteadfurnishingsandgifts.com 40